A 75-year-old woman from suburban Detroit was attacked and killed by a hippopotamus while she was on an African safari with her family, and now, authorities are warning people once again about the tremendous danger that hippos pose to human beings.
“Our cherished Carol Kirken died in Tanzania on August 5th,” the family wrote in her obituary. “She was on her annual holiday with family members for an African Safari.”
“Having (passed) 75 years old, she was resolutely shooting for 100,” the tragic message continued. “She would have surely achieved it if not for this accident. Carol died quickly in the arms of her son Robert. We are shocked and saddened at her early departure from our lives.”
Kirken, a businesswoman and philanthropist who was well known in her community of Rochester Hills, posted several smiling pictures of her vacation to her Facebook page. On August 1, days before her death, she wrote about having seen “many beautiful animals today,” including hippos and bull elephants.
And on the day she died, Kirken posted about having witnessed a massive migration, WJBK reported. No word has surfaced as to what caused the hippo to attack the grandmother, but the seemingly friendly animals are known to use their large, flat teeth to defend themselves from any perceived threats.
Kirken’s community is hardly able to make sense of her untimely death.
“Just shock,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. “There are few people in the community that you think of that are absolute treasures and Carol is one of those in our community.”
He praised her as one of the founding members of the Rochester Area Women’s Fund and a prolific volunteer with the North Oakland YMCA Supporting Military Families.
National Geographic labeled hippos as the most dangerous mammal in Africa because of their aggressive territorial behavior. Numerous horrifying deaths have been ascribed to the enormous herbivore, including trampling, goring, and even drowning from people who were dragged into lakes.